The Houston Astros, instead of being content to take its shaming and move on, have decided to stick with their furious campaign to be the boil on the ass of baseball. Both they and the Oakland A’s are staring down the barrel of some pretty serious suspensions after a benches-clearing brawl yesterday afternoon in Oakland.
The mishegas stemmed from Oakland outfielder Ramon Laureano being hit twice, and apparently that was a call for the Astros to bark from their dugout about it? Usually, you bark when you’re teammates with the guy being targeted, but we know how the Astros feel about rules, written or unwritten. Laureano decided, justifiably if not rationally, that he wasn’t going to stand for Houston hitting coach Alex Cintron sharing his deluded thoughts from a good 100 feet away, Perhaps Laureano was merely inquiring what an Astros hitting coach does other than build his own enigma box.
The highlight, of course, is Cintron talking all kinds of trash and then hiding behind whomever he could find when Laureano approached, likely screaming “Immunity!” a la Lethal Weapon 2 and being the default position of any Astros employee.
MLB has made it clear it does not want the optics of 50-plus guys getting within six feet of each other in these what-have-yas, when they can’t even control the virus among their players when they’re in their hotels (more on that in a sec). Laureano can expect to sit for a week or more, and one or two Astros can probably expect the same. Also, the Astros got swept, are 6-9 on the year (won’t make the joke because it’s stupid and also the actual position really isn’t that enjoyable in that you have to focus too hard on one action to enjoy it properly nullifying the enjoyment of the other), and can’t go seven minutes without embarrassing themselves some way.
But then again, neither can baseball in general.
Before Sunday night’s tilt between Cleveland and the White Sox, news broke that Cleveland pitcher Zach Plesac had been sent to his room back in Ohio to think about what he did, which was to go out in Chicago with some friends. It’s almost as if baseball is a sport filled with young men who feel invincible to the point of brainlessness and no amount of protocols and warnings are going to keep them from exploring their youth wherever they can before you add in whatever level of “MUH RIGHTS!” environments they were raised/live in.
This was on the same day that even more Cardinals tested positive for COVID-19, their midweek series against Pittsburgh was postponed (they won’t have played a game for two weeks at least), and now they have 55 games to make up in 44 days at most. They clearly won’t play 60 games, and now it’s a real bet if they’ll play enough games to even come close to thinking it was legitimate in a season that was making the word “legitimate” do some severe one-legged crows. Still, baseball without the Cardinals has the feel of a city when the cabbies or police go on strike. You can’t help but notice how pleasant everything is without them. All in all a banner day for baseball.
Oh, and MLS looked at all this and decided to jump into this pool as well. The USA essentially needs to be euthanized as a whole.
After a miraculous comeback on Friday down three goals with less than four minutes to go, the only way the Toronto Maple Leafs could make sure the occasion was truly MAPLE LEAFS was to turtle in Game 5 against Columbus. Don’t you worry, the Leafs never disappoint when it comes to disappointing themselves and their following. They are this GIF embodied.
The Jackets scored early, trapped through the rest of the game, and the Leafs were basically helpless to do anything about it. While they had the puck for most of the game, goalie Joonas Korpisalo could have sipped a mojito and still held the Leafs out with a yawn. The weaknesses of the Leafs were pretty clear to see. They don’t really have a super, trap-busting-defenseman to get them into the offensive zone clean when facing a trap, and Freddie Andersen’s one purpose in life is to slip a knife between the third and fourth ribs of his own team at the worst possible time. Andersen swallowed his tongue in three Game 7s for the Ducks, and then continued the trend by doing so the past two years for the Leafs in Boston. And every year, Leafs Nation convinces themselves that “THIS TIME IT WILL BE DIFFERENT,” only to make sure everyone pays attention when they go Buddhist monk when Andersen does it again.
Down only a goal, the Leafs conjured a moment to thumb their own ass that is the definition of a chef’s kiss. Both d-men ended up on the same side of the ice somehow, allowing Liam Foudy to easily collect a dump-in in the corner with no one within projectile vomit distance. His angle to the net would best be described as “utterly fucked,” but the math went “Andersen + deciding game = anything is worth a try.” Foudy let fly and a half-second later the continent was treated to the sound of the entire province of Ontario’s forehead hitting a desk (aside from the seven Senators fans that are left, who all spontaneously combusted).
Making it better is that the Leafs might be boned from here on out. They only have 17 players signed for next year, and with the flat cap, they only have $5M in space to fill in the gaps. It’s quite possible the Leafs missed their window without actually ever stepping through it, or they’ll have to find new homes for expensive players like William Nylander or Mitch Marner in a climate where teams are going to be seriously challenged to take on any expensive players. You hate to see it.